UK Study Says Women Are Angrier Behind the Wheel

Article by Christian A., on October 25, 2016

A study commissioned by Hyundai Motor UK revealed that on average, women drivers were 12% angrier compared to their male counterparts.

The study was conducted by behavioral psychologist Patrick Fagan who hails from Goldsmiths, University London, a public research university well known for specializing in, among others, the social sciences. Fagan looked into 1,000 drivers from the U.K. in order to know how the different senses, sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch, could incite emotional responses with regards to certain driving conditions.

According to Fagan, psychologically, women scored higher when it comes to verbal and emotional intelligence compared to men. In addition, he added, women were also more likely to display the personality trait known as neuroticism. The study reveals that the bad temper women show can likely be traced back to the time when humans were hunters and gatherers.

Fagan says that based on the evolutionary theory, the early female developed what can be considered as an acute sense when it comes to danger especially when threatened with their young. This was true especially when the male was out hunting for food. Fagan adds that this so-called “early warning system” is still present today and thus female drivers are more sensitive with regards to negative stimuli and they get frustrated and angry faster.

The study itself is unique in that it made use of pioneering technology and combined it with data obtained from the study. Working together, Fagan and the brand came up with the Driving Emotion Test, or DET, the first in the world. What this does is to analyze eye movements, look at facial coding, monitor heart rate, and determine galvanic skin response, in order to know how certain stimuli affect emotions when driving. After the data are gathered, these are then processed by software that then comes out with a DET score.

In addition to anger, the study revealed as well that happiness was another emotion that dominated both sexes when it came to driving. Results show that 84% of drivers agree that being on an empty road gives them happiness. Meanwhile 69% of female drivers agree that driving in a seaside road or the countryside was preferable. In the case of male drivers, 78% preferred either of these locations.

Another important aspect when it comes to ensuring happiness while driving is music with 54% of U.K. drivers saying that singing while driving makes them happy. Guess this means that host James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke has some basis to it.

Important as well was communication with 29% of male drivers claiming that it was easier to talk while inside a car, with 14% saying that talking helped them to become better drivers.

Commenting on the study, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor UK Tony Whitehorn revealed that the brand is always working to know more what affects people especially when driving. The results have shown some surprising, as well as interesting, results, he added. By looking into the emotion of the drivers, the brand hopes to assist them in becoming better drivers not just for today but for the future, Whitehorn said.

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